Usman described year 2016 as a successful year for the aviation industry in Nigeria, noting the zero-accident performance in the commercial transport category.
Foreign and domestic airlines operating in Nigeria recorded over N330,548,324,796.84 in ticket sales in the first nine months of 2016, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Mukhtar Usman, said in Lagos on Monday.
He was speaking during a press conference at the offices of the agency at Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA).
The figure is despite the economic recession, paucity of foreign exchange, the inability of international carriers to repatriate their ticket sales to their home countries, affecting passengers and cargo movements in the preceding year, and the decision of some airlines to cease operations in Nigeria.
Nonetheless, Usman described year 2016 as a successful year for the aviation industry in Nigeria, noting the zero-accident performance in the commercial transport category.
Elaborating on the numbers, Captain Usman said ticket sales in 2015 between January and December stood at N385,909,897,028.80 billion. Passenger traffic was 11,402,899, within the same period, with 233,845 recorded flights.
He explained further that in 2015, airlines airlifted 42,000 passengers daily in 700 flights, while 2016 the same number of passengers daily, but on 597 flights.
“From January to September 2016, 8,030,816 passengers were airlifted with 130,745 domestic flights,” Captain Usman continued. “Also, foreign passengers between January and September, 2016 was 3,272,331 and with 33,099. Total number of passengers was 11,344,936 and 163,833 flights in the past year.
“From the statistics available, 2015/2016 passengers’ volume were similar with just marginal difference. 2016 had less number of flights, but increased in passenger volume anticipated annually as we are still awaiting the last quarter 2016 data, which is under collation and authentication.”
On the planned closure of Abuja Airport runway, Usman insisted that before the announcement was made, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) made applications to it, but the Ministry of Aviation only made an announcement on the closure.
He explained that the Kaduna Airport was chosen as an alternate airport because of its proximity to Abuja and the Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) equipment available there.
He also informed that the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) arrangements Nigeria has with countries increased from 88 to 90, with the addition of Seychelles and Bahamas in December, while the United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, Turkey, Brazil, Qatar and Cote D’Ivoire have requested additional frequencies.
In addition, in 2016, NCAA had 18 firms applications for Air Operators’ Certificates (AOC), he said.
On the prospects for 2017, Usman expressed that NCAA aimed to sustain the zero accident in aviation with increase in safety oversight, wider and more regular surveillance, stringent enforcement and appropriate sanctions to apply.
He also emphasized that NCAA would continue to review and strengthen economic regulations, ensure improved consumer protection and continuous prioritization of training.